The mighty mushroom is having a real moment. From superfood blends and adaptogenic supplements to trippy therapy sessions and micro-dosing the day away, our culture is celebrating the magic of mushrooms. Just as we’ve seen with the legalization and commoditization of marijuana, mushrooms are being branded and sold as targeting specific physical and mental health concerns and as a tool for connection and creativity.
Superfoods + Supplements
Functional mushrooms positively impact specific areas of our health beyond their essential nutritional value. They are considered superfoods containing many vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants – these are 100% legal without psychoactive effects. Some of the most popular mushroom varietals you will find in superfoods and supplements include:
- Lion’s Mane: for mental clarity, memory, focus, and overall brain support
- Reishi: considered a powerful adaptogen, reishi works to help the body manage everyday physical, mental, and emotional stress. It’s also known for supporting the immune system.
- Chaga: perhaps the front runner regarding antioxidant properties, is loaded with beta-glucans, amino acids, potassium, zinc, calcium, biotin, vitamin D, and B vitamins.
- Cordyceps: nature’s energy boost! Cordyceps supports oxygen availability in the body, improving blood flow and boosting energy, endurance, performance, stamina, and vitality.
- Turkey Tail: a gut-friendly mushroom that acts as a prebiotic for gut microorganisms and aids the digestive system by strengthening and regulating the gut microbiome.
- Maitake: this type is loaded with heart-healthy benefits from reducing cholesterol, improving artery functionality, and regulating blood sugar.
These mighty mushrooms are found in various vitamins and supplements such as First Person or Mushroom Revival’s Tinctures. Another great way to get the benefits of functional mushrooms is by integrating them into your everyday recipes and routines – here is some inspiration:
- Cacao: Philosophie’s Cacao Magic is packed with organic reishi mushrooms alongside essential vitamins and minerals. Blend it into a smoothie or warmed milk for an instant chocolatey boost of benefits, including 10x the antioxidants of green tea and more magnesium than 3 cups of broccoli! Bonus Points: blend in with your AM coffee for added energy.
- Coffee: Four Sigmatic makes a variety of coffees with Chaga and Cordyceps – loading your morning cup with tons of health benefits. And no, it doesn’t taste like mushrooms. Instead, the company boasts, “Over 20,000 five-star reviewing customers say our products taste like coffee or hot cacao or whatever they’re mixed with.”
- Wind Down: swap your evening cocktail for a Kin Euphorics “Dream Light” poured over ice. Packed with reishi mushrooms, melatonin, and L-Tryptophan, this “mocktail” will smooth out the stress and ease you into your evening.
- Snack: Add mushroom superfood powders, teas, and elixirs to recipes like these Chocolate Mushroom Paleo No Bake Energy Balls (Reishi & Chaga).
Take a Trip
Aside from the undeniable health benefits of functional mushrooms, their psychedelic sister shrooms are also having a moment. Select states in the US have “decriminalized” the use of psilocybin to support the research of psychedelics as a treatment for psychological conditions. Last week, Connecticut announced it would offer legal MDMA and psilocybin-assisted therapy as early as next year – this is a move ahead of federal approval, which is still pending. However, the Biden administration aims to change that within the next two years.
Why the move to legalization? This is primarily driven by the research that supports psychedelic-assisted therapy in treating mental health conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and anxiety (among many others). Nikesha Elise Williams writes for Self, “psychedelic-assisted therapy, which is practiced under the careful guidance of a trained clinician, who administers a controlled amount of a psychoactive substance to induce a person into an altered state of consciousness. In theory, this type of therapy encourages you to mentally explore the underlying roots of certain mental health issues.”
There’s another wave of people microdosing to boost focus, performance, creativity, and connection. Microdosing refers to using smaller, controlled doses of psychedelics to improve creativity, increase energy levels, balance mood, and support treatment for depression, anxiety, and addiction. Research indicates this approach can help with reshaping brain cells and neuropathways.
Products marketed for a micro-dose experience typically contain a proprietary blend of mushrooms at a low dose so that you can control how much or little you take. For example, Muse recommends their 1x daily Micro Capsules to “Enhance creativity and create focus. Encourages new neural connections in the brain. Centers the mind.” From firsthand experience, I can confirm this was exactly my experience – and without any “trip.” I felt focused, calm, creative, and connected to the present at the single capsule/day dose.
Curious About Learning More?
You can take an online “Psychedelics Fundamentals” class for just $29.99 from MAPS (Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies). This 501(c)(3) non-profit research and educational organization develops medical, legal, and cultural contexts for people to benefit from the careful uses of psychedelics and marijuana.
Whether you’re cooking with them, dosing them, or somewhere in between, a growing body of evidence supports mushrooms are here to stay in the wellness space. And beyond the body, they are also great for mother earth – check out an eco-friendly mushroom burial suit or perhaps a pair of biodegradable mushroom-soled shoes!
Disclaimer: The contents of this article are for informational purposes only and do not render medical or psychological advice, opinion, diagnosis, or treatment. As always, we advise you to consult with your healthcare provider before trying new supplements or medications and consult your local state and federal laws relating to this topic.